I made a joke on Facebook recently, concerning the FitBit craze. “I bought a FitBit, but it didn’t seem to be working right. I returned it to the company and they sent me a refund with a note: ‘You bought the wrong product, what you need is the UnFitBit'”. I look at the FaceBook posts of my hiking friends, who always seem to be going somewhere. Several of them live in Columbia, SC and there are lots of great after-work spots that they can hike on without having to drive for hours. There’s not much like that around where I live, and the places that exist are pretty flat and uninteresting after a trip or two.
Theres a local “running club”, which is easy to become a member if you are a masochist that likes to wake up at 4am, go run, and then come home, shower and go to work. I’m sorry, but after running I just want to pass out and not have a heart attack. Putting on some clothes and going to work just doesn’t fit in with my post-exercise world view.
So, lately it’s been back on the DreadMill in the corner, staring at the wall. Because on my last hike I was disappointed I was once again in the back of the pack (okay – to be fair some of the group weren’t even wearing full packs. I wanted exercise and the full backpacking experience). I have a couple of hikes coming up that involve lots of miles through rolling hills, and the last thing I want to do is be thinking “I’m exhausted and this sucks”, 6 hours into a three day hike. Hiking has it’s own ups and downs. There are usually points at which I’m ready to give up and go home, but then we hit a good view or stop for the night and talk around a campfire, or lounge around for lunch by a river, and everything just is so much nicer.
I have them on my iPad, which fits nicely on the top of the DreadMill, so while I am sweating and panting I can at least have something to look at besides the wall. But after looking at my same videos over and over for a week, I started to want something else to look at. Fortunately theres a LOT of AT hikers out there, and cameras are small, powerful, and have great batteries these days so it’s pretty easy for one guy or a couple to make some great videos.
Walking on the DreadMill for 40 minutes is a lot more enjoyable with some decent videos. One I watched today was this one:
The music is pretty good (even though it’s Christian Rock – I figured this out on the second song. I’m not much of a fan of Christian rock but the second song just went SO well with the video, I might have to pirate it from somewhere), and the camera work is awesome. They just capture so much of the trail life, it’s amazing. I’ve never hiked any of the AT myself, my goal is to start little pieces maybe this fall. But, hiking has some pretty universal issues; there’s heat and cold and rain, making food, crossing rivers, dealing with bugs and sweat and dirt, traversing difficult terrain, and shelter. I can see my own experiences in some of their travels, just a little. And all in all they stick it out to Katahdin, and even though its kind of a jerky, stop action sort of ending, you know just what is going on in front of the trail sign. I won’t ruin it for you…
Spiderman’s video is pretty good, and he takes Chuck Norris with him. I’ve been told to take something along on my travels, something different, something that makes me, me. I really haven’t found it yet, but so far I’m doing really short trips. About the only odd thing I took was my child’s stuffed tree frog, which I though would make a good pillow. It didn’t it was HOT and kept sliding out from under my head.
The last one is part of a fund raising campaign to make a full length AT movie. The camera work on this on is also pretty good, even using voiceovers and titles which I thought was nice. The quality is good, but the film is short. Its almost insane the distances these people cover in just seconds on screen. Watch the video, in just 16 seconds he covers the AT section in Georgia, which is about 75 miles.
I hope through all of these you can find your own motivation, if you’re a hiker. If you’re into writing or sailing or video games, it’s probably not going to help you, but if you an outdoor type, maybe some of the videos might help you get going and plan your own great adventure. For the time being my great adventures are limited to about 3 or 4 days, but as I look down the road I can see them approaching, and only hope I can get in better shape and enjoy them myself.